279 Thule

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279 Thule
Discovered by Johann Palisa
Discovery date October 25, 1888
1927 EC, 1954 FF, A920 GA, A923 RA[1]
Minor planet category Asteroid belt (Thule)
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 27 August 2011 (JD 2455800.5)
Aphelion 4.3122281 AU
Perihelion 4.2329299 AU
4.2725790 AU
Eccentricity 0.0092799
8.8316810 a (3225.7715 d)
Inclination 2.33789°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 126.6 ± 3.7 km (IRAS)[1]
15.96 h[1]
Albedo 0.041[1]
Temperature 133 K
Spectral type
D (Tholen)[1]

279 Thule (/ˈθjuːl/ THEW-lee) is a large asteroid from the asteroid belt. It is classified as a D-type asteroid and is probably composed of organic-rich silicates, carbon and anhydrous silicates.

The orbit of Thule is unusual. It orbits in the outermost edge of the asteroid belt in a 4:3 orbital resonance with Jupiter.

Some astronomers have argued that Thule's present orbit is the natural result of the force of Jupiter on a body orbiting at precisely the distance from the Sun Thule does, in the same way (though with the reverse effect) as the Kirkwood gaps in the more inner parts of the asteroid belt.

Thule was the first discovered member of the Thule dynamical group which as of 2008 is known to consist of three objects: 279 Thule, (186024) 2001 QG207, and (185290) 2006 UB219.[2]

It was discovered by Johann Palisa on October 25, 1888 in Vienna and was named aptly after the ultimate northern land of Thule.

Thule was the first asteroid discovered with a semi-major axis greater than 4 AU.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j NASA/JPL Small-Body Database on 279 Thule Retrieved 2011-09-22
  2. ^ Brož, M.; Vokrouhlický, D. (2008). "Asteroid families in the first-order resonances with Jupiter". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 390 (2): 715–732. Bibcode:2008MNRAS.tmp.1068B. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13764.x. 

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